Chowhounds, as a semi-frequent traveler, I often find myself with little lead time for researching culinary options before I'm air-dropped into an unfamiliar place. I have friends who are remarkable at ferreting out where to eat, drink and socialize with nothing to guide them but their wits. Although I've picked up a few tips over time -- asking random locals point blank where their favorite places are while standing in line at the grocery store or looking for crowds at any eating establishment being the most obvious of them -- but I still have a lot to learn! I envy those of you who seem to have a natural nose for finding good food.
Without advanced research (no prior Chowhounding!) and without a guidebook (most smaller towns are too small to be the subjects of guidebooks, in any case), how do you find your way? Are there particular types of people you look for, to ask? Can you spot a Chowhound from the way they dress, speak, move, from where they are? Can you intuit what will and won't be good at a restaurant? Please share your secrets!